Political Law

People of the Philippines vs Benedicto Jose

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G.R. No. L-22 – 76 Phil. 253 – Political Law – Pardon – Conditional Pardon – How it works after a change of sovereign

Jose was charged for violating Act 65 in 1944. Act 65 was an act of the National Assembly of RP while the Japanese were still occupying the country. After serving 6 months or in April 1944, Jose was granted a conditional pardon – the simple condition was for him not to violate any other Penal Laws of RP. Later he committed a crime of qualified theft. The Fiscal then went on to file an additional charge against Jose for violating the conditions of the pardon granted him. Jose argued that he did not violate the pardon conditions at all because there is no pardon at all. The pardon granted him is inoperative because the law he violated before was a political law which was abrogated when the US army took over the country as proclaimed by MacArthur in Oct 1944.

ISSUE: Whether the defendant can now be prosecuted for having allegedly violated the conditional pardon granted by the President of the so-called Republic of the Philippines.

HELD: The SC held that Jose cannot be prosecuted criminally for a violation of the conditional pardon granted by the President of the so-called RP (during the Jap Occupation), for the following reasons: Because, without necessity of discussing and determining the intrinsic validity of the conditional pardon, as an act done by the President of the so-called RP, after the restoration of the Commonwealth Government, no elaborate argument is required to show that the effectivity of a conditional pardon depends on that of the sentence which inflicts upon a defendant the punishment inflicted by the sentence ceases to be of any effect in so far as the individual upon whom it is bestowed is concerned, for the latter cannot be required to serve a void sentence of penalty imposed on him, even without such pardon.


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